Prayagraj (UP), Jan 25 (PTI) A Vishva Hindu Parishad leader on Wednesday demanded that the tourism ministry should not be linked with pilgrimages, arguing that tourism is for fun and pilgrimages are for salvation.
General secretary of VHP's Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti Jitendranand Saraswati reasoned that while alcohol and non-vegetarian food form part of tourism, they are not allowed in the pilgrimage areas.
Regarding Samajwadi Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya's remarks on Ramcharitmanas, he said ahead of the 2024 elections, these leaders are making such statements to divide Hindus among themselves.
A row has erupted after Bihar education minister Chandra Shekhar spoke of verses in the 'Ramcharitmanas' that allegedly promoted discrimination against the lower castes.
When confronted by journalists, the Bihar minister had dug in his heels equating the popular version of Ramayana with 'Manu Smriti' and RSS ideologue M S Golwalkar’s 'Bunch of Thoughts'.
Addressing an event at the Magh Mela area here, Saraswati said, "We demand that the Central government should separate pilgrimage from the tourism ministry because the goal of tourism is fun and the goal of pilgrimage is salvation." VHP's sampark pramukh Ashok Tiwari, who was conducting the programme, said the influence of Hindutva organisation is increasing. "If saints and sages continue to go to remote rural areas, then more than half of the problems will automatically end," he said. PTI RAJ ABN TDS TDS